David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:
Happy Friday! =)
David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:
Happy Friday! =)
In a word…hard.
What parent hasn’t felt desperate for help, answers, and wisdom in knowing how to raise their child(ren)?
Which of us hasn’t watched a screaming baby who’s been fed, changed, and burped and yet refuses to be calmed or cuddled…at 3am?
What parent hasn’t wondered what in the world to do with a toddler who refuses to go near the potty…and considered how bad it would be for him to actually go to college with Huggies?
Who hasn’t stared back at an 8 year old with an attitude the size of Texas and wondered how she got you to argue back with her for the past five minutes?
Which father hasn’t doubted his ability to lead his daughter through the murky waters of dating relationships?
And what mother hasn’t dreaded the learning curve of not overstepping her married son’s new role?
So since we’re all in the same boat, I thought I’d let you know about this two-day event coming up about which I am super excited:
Join Benny and Sheree Phillips, a pastor and wife with seven children, eleven grandchildren and authors of five books on parenting and related topics, as they host “Redemptive Parenting”, a free two-day event that will equip and envision parents of kids of all ages.
“I remember being a young parent and drawing on the wisdom and experience of other seasoned parents. Now that Sheree and I have grandchildren, we believe more than ever that parents need to make use of good counsel and effective resources to be successful. This seminar is designed to equip parents to embrace the task God has given them. We want to model and communicate the grace that God has shown us through the gospel to our children,” — Benny Phillips
The seminar will take place Friday night and Saturday morning, June 14-15 and will feature a session for women by Sheree Phillips, who homeschooled seven children, co-authored two books with Benny and wrote three books of her own on the topics of womanhood and motherhood. The schedule also allots time for an interactive period of questions and answers. The seminar promises an opportunity for interaction with seasoned parents who have experienced the full range of parental failures and successes.
About the Speakers: Benny Phillips has been a pastor for 33 years and married to Sheree for 40 years. Benny and Sheree co-authored Raising Kids Who Hunger for God and Walking With the Wise. Sheree also authored Mothers At the Heart of Life, A Royal Calling and The High Calling of Motherhood.
So pretty much this is an event for anyone who is a parent, right? No matter how you got your kids, when you got them, why you got them (ha!) or where…this is for you. And me. For us!
You can register here for this free event, hosted by Redeemer Church in Lake Nona.
Whether or not you’re local, this video will hopefully encourage you. Weary parents, take heart: there is grace for us and God is at work!
It’s no secret that I’m big on no-GMO foods over here. Even the triplets don’t like GMOs. It’s true! This was their reaction when I showed them some GM corn:
Ok, so really they had no idea what I was telling them. But I do and it’s my job to protect them however I can until they do understand and can make decisions for themselves. Amen?
GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organisms” and you will find GMOs in just about every item on the shelf in your grocery store.
Basically, it’s like this. That tomato looks fresh and juicy and should hurry up and jump on your burger, right? Wrong. That tomato has been scientifically engineered in a lab. Way back when it was just a baby seed, it was genetically modified with genes from totally different plants, fungi, viruses or animals! What?! Why?!
To make rich people richer.
How? Well, scientists have modified seeds for many different crops to help them withstand many, many sprayings of pesticides, herbicides, etc. Essentially, the plant lives but the buggies die. This means a better crop for the farmer (or the company that “owns” the farm, but that’s a story for another day!).
Doesn’t sound that bad? Oh, just wait!
See, these seeds – the ones that were injected and cloned with DNA from foreign sources like animals, humans and viruses! – are grown in massive quantities and turned into food that is fed to animals. Corn, for instance, is highly GM and is a big source of food for beef cows, chickens, pigs, etc. These animals eat food they were never intended to live off of (including candy sometimes!!!) and basically their digestive systems can’t handle the new “DNA” strains. Those that seem well enough are passed through to slaughter…and arrive at your dinner table. Yum. Who knows how that meat has been affected and what it will do to your family’s health?
Or take the produce section of your fave grocery store. Most of that pretty produce (unless USDA-certified organic) is GM. Which means that your body literally has no idea what to do with much of it!
And if you’ve ever read a food label, chances are you’re seeing ingredients like: canola oil, soybean oil, cane syrup, corn flour, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Am I right? Quick – go check your pantry, fridge or freezer…I’ll wait for you.
You’re back? Ok! I’ll bet you anything there are GM ingredients in just about everything in your kitchen that is not in its original form. If it has to be packaged, and isn’t organic, you can bet there is something GM in it. Ugh!
Some of the highest GM food crops are corn, soybeans, canola, sugarbeets (from which HFCS is made). And lots of other foods are being tested – like a salmon that will grow four times faster than normal!
Ok, so we know that GM ingredients are bad and are found in produce, in conventional meats and in most packaged/processed food on shelves. So what does that mean for us? Our families? Well, since those GMOs aren’t recognized by our bodies, they create holes in our gut and leak food into our bloodstream. Yup. So gross. The result? We now have new diseases, and others that are skyrocketing each year, like celiac disease, infertility, food allergies and diabetes. What we eat is making us sick.
We have become a scientific experiment – unable to process the food correctly.
Who benefits? Companies like Monsanto. They benefit greatly. They hide behind labels like “all natural.” They develop and implement marketing ploys that tout saving the world with stronger, hardier crops. When asked, they refused to label their products with which ingredients are GM. …Of course, because who would buy them? (I hope not you and I!) And then they would lose money. Which would be bad. Of course.
And then Obama recently signed a bill that stops federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from eating these products may come to light in the future. Gee, thanks, Pres.
So what do we do now? We march! On Saturday, May 25, you can join thousands of others around the world and fight to keep your food clean, real and in its natural state. And you can do so in your own city or from the comfort of your own home. (Click here to find info on where your city is marching; and click here to find out how to march online.)
Well, I heard the White House is serving a yummy special – all organic, of course. Maybe you should stop by? Kidding. =)
But seriously, it can most definitelydefinitelydefinitely be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start in overhauling this (and other!) areas of your life. You can read my Baby Steps to Natural Living for how to do so slowly and effectively.
Once upon a time, when the babies were two months old…
I began dreaming of the day when their nourishment was not dependent entirely upon me. This was mainly due to the immense challenges I faced with breastfeeding all three babies and supply issues (you can read our journey on breastfeeding here). I read somewhere that babies often begin cereal at four months old so I figured I’d better get on this if I’m going to do it right! …Right? I began doing some research and talked with my pediatrician who encouraged me to wait until around six months. I was disappointed but was willing to wait – what harm could there be in waiting?
And so I did more research. (Seriously, how do you do mommyhood and not do research? This mom thing is confusing!)
I discovered two major things:
We’ll discuss the second point next time. But the more I read, searched and asked questions, the more I realized that babies really will tell you when they want to start food – and it’s very rare for this to happen before six months (though we all tend to think our baby is the exception, right? =).
Maybe you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” It’s really true! Babies get everything they need from breastmilk (even if the baby is on formula, the bulk of his nutrition is coming from the bottle). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization even recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (or bottle-fed for all my mommy friends who aren’t able to breastfeed <3).
So how, then, do you know when your baby is ready?! Great question! Here are the current recommendations:
All of the above should be in place prior to beginning solids. In some cases this will mean readiness before six months, but in most cases it will mean the baby is not ready till after their half-birthday. (I know a few one year olds who showed no interest in food!)
Some signs that do not (alone) indicate when babies are ready for solids include:
At this point in my research, I knew I did not want to start the babies on solids until they were exhibiting the signs of readiness above. They were about seven months old when I finally gave in and introduced solids. Little did I know what lay in store for me: babies eating solids = mess!
If you’re unfamiliar with baby-led weaning (BLW), it simply means “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” (BabyLedWeaning.com) I would encourage you to check this method out to determine if it is for you and your baby.
I, however, chose to do mostly pureed foods with elements of baby-led weaning (which actually works gloriously, in my opinion! =). And there were several reasons that went into my decision to begin with pureed foods. Our schedule was such that we didn’t eat meals at the same time that the babies did so I would have ended up preparing food twice anyway. And we were in a season where David and I weren’t eating the way I prefer we eat because of…well, having three babies to care for! I wanted them to eat better than we were (no Kraft macaroni for them! =) And, because there were three, I wanted to know exactly what they were eating – to watch for any adverse reactions by spoon-feeding them. So for me it ended up being easier to puree foods for a while.
What I didn’t do was follow a recipe book. I took one look at them and decided that was not for me – no combining broccoli and apple to sneak the broccoli in. (More on this next time!) So I just usually “mushed up” something in bulk for the babies. The time spent preparing foods really wasn’t bad, either. I could make a serious amount of food in a very little amount of time. (I promise I’ll show you how!) And with none of this peeling stuff! Nope. If I could eat the peel, the babies could, too! (Of course I modified how the food arrived to them for safety, but that was way easier than peeling, say, an apple for applesauce!)
So, what did they eat? Well, stop on by next week and we’ll chat about that… ‘cause it’s a very long list!
Note: Always check with your pediatrician and do your own research to determine what is best for you and your baby.
Like you, I was hit by a tsunami of “I love my mother” posts on all the social media sites. It was precious seeing everyone’s baby pictures, all of the “you’re the best mother in the world” declarations, etc. And I loved seeing all the women honored – women who have sacrificed bodies, careers and unending hours of time to produce and care for and love their children.
However, I found myself tossed by different emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that Mother’s Day is actually very similar to every other day before it and after it! (Bear with me here – I have only celebrated a few Mother’s Days, ok? I’m new at this. =) I mean, right? Would you agree that Mother’s Day is:
wiping snotty noses.
taking a nap.
picking up sticky, spilling sippy cups out of a puddle of milk on the floor.
having lunch made for you.
breaking up a fight…again.
waking sleepy children from naptime.
giving consequences for disobedience.
planning meals for the day.
a sweet card.
a frozen ice-cream yumminess treat.
a day to worship with others.
a day to need grace, patience and mercy.
a reminder of blessings.
Mother’s Day isn’t just the pictures of flowers and coffee-retreats, the esteeming and adoring posts or the happy children racing to do our every beck and call. No, Mother’s Day is oftentimes just like any other day: a day to cherish the good, the bad and the ugly. A day to fulfill the calling given us by the One Who helps us each step of the way. A day to appropriate the much-needed grace and to enjoy the tidbits of a break or the sloppy kisses at the encouragement of a husband.
Mother’s Day is over. Until next year. But every day in between I have the opportunity to be encouraged, honored and loved. In a million different ways, if I’ll look for them.
If you haven’t been high-risk, an MFM stands for maternal-fetal medicine specialist (or neonatologist, or perinatologist). These men and women walk us through our pregnancies more closely than our OBs! We see them on a weekly basis sometimes. They make life-saving decisions about our babies and even us! They become much more than a white coat. They watch our babies grow, literally, weekly, and celebrate all the milestones with us – halfway for triplets, halfway for singleton pregnancy, viability, term for triplets, etc.
Dr. Al-malt is the man who (with my OB team) kept my babies safe and sound in their womb-home for nearly 33 weeks! He made the call on the need for the cerclage. He did more than a dozen ultrasounds on the four of us – tracking soooooooooo many things and watching for a thousand more. He never even breathed the word “reduction” to us. I whined and made promises to him that I’d be good and stay in bed at home so I didn’t need to go on bed-rest in the hospital. And he called it that my labor wouldn’t be stopped and that my babies would be born that day instead of the two weeks from then we were shooting for (read the birth story here).
And he’s like a proud Grandpa with the babies. =) This is Dr. AL-Malt.
He hadn’t seen us in almost a year and a half but knew exactly who we were. He pulled out his phone and asked his staff to take pictures. Ok, Dr. A, whatever you want….you’re the boss! <3
Recently my hubby said he was surprised I hadn’t picked up on the “baby in a mug” craze going around. I said, “what’s baby in a mug?” He was even more surprised to learn I hadn’t seen this yet. So he told me to Google it. I did. And ohmygoodness, sooooo cute and so fun! So, of course I had to do it. Heehee! And why stop with one baby? Let’s get TRIPLETS in a mug!!! So, without further ado, here is our snapshot of #babeinamug:
This was obviously a very large mug. Kidding. It’s actually the mug we got from our honeymoon. :sigh: Now I need to go reheat my babies…er, coffee!
And you wanted to vote for us below, right? Cause you haven’t yet today? See, I knew there was a reason I was including this button. =) Thanks so much for the love!
Welcome back! If you’re just joining us, check out the first part of Little Daycare in the Suburbs. And if you’ve found us from Intoxicated on Life, hi!!! Be sure to like us on Facebook so you can get updates on the three M&M’s and each new post that comes along! Oh, and leave a comment so I can “meet” you! Can’t wait! =)
So. Why is it so hard to leave triplets with a sitter? Glad you asked! Here’s why:
It is physically exhausting. Loading three babies into highchairs (12 times), out of them (12 times), onto a changing table (18 times), off of it (18 times), into cribs (9 times), out of them (9 times), into the stroller (3 times), out of it (3 times)…it is exhausting. (That’s a full-on workout!! And mine “only” weigh 22 lbs!) And of course they aren’t all happily watching you cart one kid around…oh no. It often sounds like a daycare class. I challenge anyone who isn’t rattled by crying babies to join a MoM one afternoon. =)
It is hard to discern the needs of one toddler, let alone three. Remember that language thing? Yeah, there are three different dialects going on and I oftenoftenoften times cannot remember who says what, or who uses which sign or word for which item.
It is a lot of diapers. One wake-time is six diapers…six. More if you forget you already changed that one. Less if you forget you haven’t changed that one all day. I did this. Last week.
It is necessary to be structured. I have one nursery and three babies. One up, all up. One down, all down. And of course the babies all cooperate with this. Right.
It is confusing. What do you do when one baby wakes and cries? Is another going to wake before she settles back down? If two or more wake, what do you do? These are just some of the questions David and I ask ourselves. Still. It often takes the both of us to settle two babies down.
It is expensive. I’ll be honest. And frank. Frank is good, right? Paying a sitter is a new thing for our skinny budget…paying two sitters is even more daunting.
It is…well, you get the picture, right? =)
Of course, the fact that I have breastfed the babies has made it doubly difficult to get out because our schedule is just naturally tight. You can see a typical schedule here – except the 4pm nursing and the 11pm nursing are no longer! Before this, though…my get-out-of-the-house opportunities were even more limited. But, lest you think I’m complaining about breastfeeding and its limitations…I am not. I have loved it. I recognize it is a very short season and am ok with those limitations. David has been incredibly patient with me and was happy to fit in date nights after the babies went to bed and before I needed to be back to feed them at 11pm. Since we dropped those feedings, though, it’s been amazing! Which leads me to:
Amazingly, we have been able to get out for date nights about 1-2 times a month for about a year! Granted, those date nights were usually just long enough for dinner and maybe an errand. But my parents have been heroes – coming over so often to play with the babies and then shoo us out the door after they were in bed. Other than them, our dear friends, Benny and Sheree, watched them for our second anniversary dinner (yes, you read that right – second). And some other dear friends, Joe and Kristen, kept the babies for a short afternoon and we came back to feed them before leaving again for a couple hours. Of course there was our first overnight getaway that my parents kicked us out for. In the past week or so, we’ve had two amazing teens from our church and then Katherine stay with the sleeping M&Ms (remember – she was a preschool teacher!!!).
Pretty much that’s it. Four non-grandparent sitters in 18 months. =) And that’s ok! There have been lots of things I’ve had to say no to over the past year and a half, but it means I’m saying yes to what is necessary for our situation. God has blessed us with three babies at once, and with them came unique challenges. But there is grace for these challenges. I definitely have to fight bad attitudes and a “need a break” mentality at times. But for the most part, He has orchestrated in my heart a love for the home and a desire to care for my babies during a season when few others can!
That being said, I’m currently in the process of working with some great girls who will hopefully, some day!, become the M&M’s babysitters! Won’t that be the day!! What should I do? Any suggestions? =)
MoMs, do you have any thoughts or suggestions? For those of you who are still pregnant with multiples, let me encourage you that there can truly be an incredible amount of grace for the massive work and unique challenges your babies will be. Few MoMs get to do what we do and it is a privilege! Amen?! =) Please let me know if you have not yet found an active community of other MoMs online and would like to join one. What a source of help we can be to one another!!!
Oh, and while you’re here…would you take a second and click the button below to vote for us? See, we’re in this contest competing with other blogging moms of multiples and would love your vote. And, if you reallyreally love us, you can vote once a day!
Today I’m guest-posting over at Intoxicated on Life. Trisha is running a series on breastfeeding – the challenges, joy, obstacles, paraphernalia and stories of dozens of women and their children. And she asked me to join these women and share my journey. If you’ve been reading Growing Up Triplets long, you know sharing what God has done for me in this area is one of my biggest joys. So here’s a mini-bite:
There are times when mathematics simply don’t make sense. For instance, I remember crying and crying over short division in school. It didn’t make sense. And I had similar experiences over the past two years with three babies and two breasts. It just didn’t compute.
You see, I was told on April 26, 2011 that I was carrying triplets.
Immediately I began seeing my dreams of a drug-free, home birth evaporating. I saw many, many dollar signs floating before my eyes. I saw a plan unfolding for my life that I wanted no part of.
Well, as the news of spontaneous triplets sunk in, and my love for my three munchies grew to epic proportions, I began to research if some of those dreams might actually still be possible. There was very, very little research out there for higher-order multiples (HOMs). With the advent of fertility assistance, the numbers of triplets and HOMs has risen dramatically, but the research is still very minimal. Most books for multiples are written geared towards twins. But…I had three babies and only two boobs! Even my very logical brain couldn’t develop a plan for this!
The research I did find led me to believe it wasn’t likely I’d be able to nurse all three, but that switching two out every feeding would be more realistic. So I grabbed onto that: I can do that. Ha. Little did I know what awaited me.
If you’re just finding us here at Growing Up Triplets, welcome!! It’s a pleasure to meet you! =) To stay connected with us and the munchies, be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our email feed (both on the sidebar to the right). And in the meantime, here are a few posts that you might find helpful in getting to know us a little bit better. Feel free to leave a comment, too, letting us know how you found us!
It’s really interesting, the spectrum of responses I get on various aspects of life with triplets. Sometimes I feel like a volleyball, being hit from one side to the other. I regularly have conversations with people who can’t stop shaking their heads at how I “do it all.” (I don’t. See my explanation here.) I often hear, “My one (or two, or three, or four) is so challenging – I can’t imagine having three at once.” Neither could I, friend. Neither could I. =) These are often the same people who seem surprised to see me around town – at church, the grocery store, etc.
Somehow, I should be unable to get out until maybe around age 6. And the fact that I am out must mean I am Super Woman. Most definitely not.
Then the other side of the spectrum sees it as no different as having two or three or four children and often comments how fun it would be to have triplets. Really. Wanna trade? Juuuuust kidding! (Stay tuned for a fun list of things you should nevernevernever say to a hormone-exploding mama of triplets. =) But these are the friends who tease me about having my children on a schedule, for not getting out of the house more regularly, why I can’t have babysitters and generally eliminate the fact that having more children at once is just different than having more children spaced out.
I definitely want to be careful here. I don’t want to communicate that what I do and the gifts God has given us are harder. I don’t want to be singled out and made to feel as abnormal as every stranger I meet seems to think I am. =) But the reality is, we are different. So…
Having triplets is like running a daycare class…that never.goes.home. And who are the individuals that run daycare classes? Well, we sure hope they aren’t random teenagers or people who have no experience. They typically are qualified or certified in some way or another. Why? Because managing a class of same-aged children in the pre-communication stage is incredibly challenging! To attempt to teach those children anything is nothing short of a miraculous accomplishment. I have great respect for these teachers because I now have a small glimpse of what they experience on a daily basis. (My friend Katherine ran a class of over a dozen 3 year olds all by herself. What?! Who can do that?? My right eye is twitching just thinking about the tantrums and varying degrees of speech levels and “learning” to speak a dozen different dialects of “threeyearold.” =)
Certainly, this toddler-preschool age is fun. Ohmygoodness, it’s fun! I love watching the babies’ eyes light up with something they just “got.” I can only imagine it’s incredibly rewarding to watch that happen in a classroom setting! And there are lots of great things about having three the same age:
They all have the same bedtime and naptimes. When one is down, they’re all down!
They all are at the same level – no 6 year old begging to go outside while I nurse the baby.
They came at once so I got fat once. =)
There is no “first child syndrome” when baby brother or sister comes along.
But…throw a teenager (or even two) into this 18 month mix? I’m not alone when I say, “heck, no!” Most MoMs (mothers of multiples) I have talked with simply do not leave their triplets at this age. I have talked with many, many moms and the general consensus is that up through even 4 years, triplets are often left only with grandparents or individuals with daycare and/or triplet experience. Or they secure a 1:1 child/sitter ratio. Or there’s an older sibling to help. Etc. And this is often only for a few hours at a time and most times after the babies are already down for the night! Why?
Oh, and while you’re here…would you take a second and click the button below to vote for us? See, we’re in this contest competing with other blogging moms of multiples and would love your vote. And, if you reallyreally love us, you can vote once a day! I know, right?!